In June I was captured for several days and sexually/emotionally/physically abused by my former partner. The effect of the rapes on my emotional state and relationships has been really heartbreaking and devastating, but what's hurting me the most right now is how it's effected me at work. It's made my job really difficult. I work part time as a medical advocate for survivors of sexual assault. Basically I meet with survivors who are getting forensic medical exams and provide information, emotional support, referrals, and help insure that their legal rights are protected. Since being raped I don't know how to handle going into work anymore.
I had the job for a few months before being raped and I LOVED it. Every time I went into work I was hit with the overwhelming feeling that there was no place on earth that I would rather be than right there, doing my absolute best to try to support and advocate for that person. But now I feel broken open every time I come home from work. I don't want to quit but I don't know how to handle feeling so triggered all the time and even my boss noticed that I'm not as effective working with clients as I use to be. Its really been a blow to my self confidence because I really invest a lot in being able to help others, and working with survivors of trauma is what I'm going to school for and what I hope to spend the rest of my life doing. What if can't handle it and I have to give it up? I already lost so much from this, I can't handle losing my job and my dreams. I feel lost, scared, helpless, useless and I just don't know what to do anymore. If anyone could offer me some prospective, I would be really, really, really grateful.
Posts: 14 | From: Michigan | Registered: Aug 2012
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lauried: I'm so glad you survived these assaults, but I am so sorry you had to go through what you did.
I certainly understand how this could make doing your job much more challenging right now.
Have you been able to talk at all to your supervisors about this? perhaps, for instance, they could not only help get you some extra support, but find a way for you to do some of what you do, but in a way or ways that aren't so triggering, and work better with where you're at right now.
If it helps, chances are good you won't have to forever give up this thing that you love. Loads of us who are survivors work with survivors, including one-on-one. But I think the expectation that we'll be able to do that in the aftermath of our own trauma, especially assault trauma, is asking a whole lot of a person.
I wonder if it might also be helpful to look at this with a different perspective, as if you were talking with a victim who wasn't you. You'd probably tell her, for instance, that putting her own self-care first for a while was probably healthiest for her and the people she wanted to help, and that that's what she'd advise anyone else to do. You'd probably tell her that asking herself to be a superwoman after such a trauma is asking way too much of herself. You'd probably tell her that needing to take care of herself for a while doesn't make her broken or useless: it just makes her human.
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